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The effectiveness of institutional borrowing restrictions: Empirical evidence from Spanish municipalities

Fermín Cabasés, Pedro Pascual Arzoz and Jaime Vallés-Giménez ()

Public Choice, 2007, vol. 131, issue 3, 293-313

Abstract: The need for restrictions on borrowing by subnational governments is a generally accepted notion that is justified both by public choice theory and by the fact that such restrictions are in force in the majority of decentralized countries. Furthermore, recent breaches of the Stability and Growth Pact of the European Union have led to the introduction of legislative tools aimed at balancing the budget at all levels of government have come to the forefront of interest in European public finance research. This paper is concerned with the financial situation and debt level of Spanish municipalities from 1988 to 2000. We have two main objectives: the first is to assess the value of mandatory limitations on municipal borrowing and past trends in the borrowing policies adopted by Spanish local authorities. The second is to develop an econometric model using panel data stratified by population size to measure indebtedness in Spanish municipalities. These measures enable us to formulate a series of hypotheses to explain municipal borrowing practices, which are then tested empirically. The evidence thus obtained appears to support the effectiveness of institutional borrowing restrictions to introduce some financial discipline in the borrowing policies adopted by local governments in Spain. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Keywords: Municipal indebtedness; Institutional restrictions; Net savings; Debt service (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007
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DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-9116-y

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